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Takeoff from Lae, Papua New Guinea, July 1937.

On a hot tropical morning...

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In Lae, Papua New Guinea, a small, silver, twin engine, monoplane struggled down a dusty, dirt, runway and lifted into the air heading southeast over the Pacific Ocean. The Lockheed Model 10-E Electra Special was heavy, and overweight, loaded with gas, for a long flight over water to Howland Island. The pilot was the 20th century air celebrity Amelia Earhart. Also aboard was Fred Noonan. Although not as well known, he was said to be one of the best navigators of his time. The Electra leveled off just barely above the water, witnesses noted, and slowly started climbing. Out of sight it began turning to bring it on a course toward Howland Island, 2556 miles to the east. It was 10am, July 2nd, 1937. The Electra was never seen again!